We hear talk of reopening society after months of what has felt like lock-down as punishment for something we are not guilty of doing. The conversation sounds good. For some of us, just hearing the word “reopen” created a sense of freedom that would be equal to what someone on death-row may feel when hearing the word “pardon.”
With that said, the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult in many ways. Even if we haven’t finished with it, we start to feel like we can see the light of an opening out of this cave. We want out of this isolation. What’s more, we want to get out of it safely, quickly, and with as much “normalcy” as possible. Make some decisions ahead of time and have at least a preliminary mental plan of how you can make the most of your time and efforts when the stoplight finally turns green.
What Happened During Isolation?
Unless you are a medical professional, you may not have given much thought to the psychological and physiological effects we all may have experienced. Lack of physical activity can cause feelings of restlessness, and leave you feeling lethargic. Being lonely can cause strong emotions, and leave people not knowing how to deal with what is happening. Unfortunately, many struggles with negative thoughts arise, and that way of thinking may cause more problems.
Because of this pull on our mental health and wellness, one of the first tips for getting past social isolation is to find ways to get out and explore whenever possible. Go somewhere besides the pharmacy or grocery store. Find a riding partner and go for a nice long ride. Go fishing, on a picnic, to a museum or library, or have a cook-out and invite the family. Get around people, even if it is strangers, and enjoy yourself. Of course, we will have to continue to use common sense and practice social distancing, especially indoors. We will also have to wash our hands frequently, but there is no isolation in any of that.
Find a Way to Serve Others
We hear that “we are all in this together,” but it is a little difficult to agree with if you are completely isolated and feeling like the lone survivor of world-wide destruction. Just you and Walmart employees may not feel like very much of a connection.
With that said, be aware that there are still some people who, for their safety, cannot celebrate this re-open declaration. If they invite you in, whip out a deck of cards or a game to play and plan on staying a little while. If you get invited to dinner, eat like it is the best thing you have ever tasted. You may think of it as helping your friends, but it will also be a big boost in your emotional recovery from isolation.
If you cannot return to work yet, find odd jobs to do in your neighborhood, or take a short-term position through a job service. Get busy and stay busy. It is the exact opposite extreme of isolation, and like isolation, It too will be temporary. Eventually, 2020 will be a bad memory. Make shaking off isolation a happy memory of this year. Have some fun, and take more pictures than you need.